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Wednesday was a historic day on the Onondaga Nation as Tadodaho (Chief) Sid Hill greeted New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) to the homelands of the Onondaga Nation for discussions to improve relations between his tribal nation and the State of New York. It was the first visit to the Onondaga Nation by a governor of the Empire state in over 50 years. 

Hill was joined by representatives from the Council of Chiefs and Clan Mothers in the Onondaga Nation Longhouse.

“We extend our gratitude in hosting Governor Hochul, an occurrence that marks the first visit by a Governor of New York to our Longhouse in no less than five decades. Anticipating collaboration with both her and State officials, our focus rests on securing the educational and healthcare support that our treaties guarantee for our community members,” Tadodaho Hill said. 

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Gov. Hochul called the visit a significant step in strengthening the relationship between the Onondaga Nation and the State of New York.

“This meeting follows the momentous event of returning over 1,000 acres of land to the Onondaga Nation. During our constructive and profound conversations, we delved into the distinct challenges that the Onondaga Nation faces,” Gov. Hochul said. Moreover, we explored avenues through which our two administrations can collaborate, notably in the realms of education and healthcare. Our pledge involves sustaining an ongoing discourse regarding these pivotal matters and fostering a respectful partnership in the years that lie ahead."

Gov. Hochul was referring to the land return in June 2022 which was one of the largest transfers from a state to an Indigenous nation—was part of a 2018 Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration settlement. The settlement is an agreement between the Dept. of the Interior’s trustees U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the landowner, Honeywell International Inc., to transfer the land title back to the Onondaga Nation. 

“Constructive dialogue serves as the cornerstone of amicable  government-to-government interactions. We concur that the restitution of 1,000 acres at the origins of Onondaga Creek stands as a long-delayed acknowledgment of the imperative to reverse the environmental deterioration of the land and waters that have nurtured our people since well before the arrival of European settlers,” Tadodaho Hill said.

“We hope this juncture signals the inception of an enduring and fruitful dialogue geared toward reinstating harmony and equity on our ancestral territories. The Onondaga Nation aspires for this meeting to accelerate the course of truth and healing between our two governance bodies, as we labor collectively toward enduring justice, serenity, and consideration for all who inhabit this region—the very homeland of the Onondaga Nation and its populace.” Tadodaho Hill continued.

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